Toilet joke for seniors

Senior Health Articles: How to Improve 100% Your Bathroom Experience!

Health

If you’ve been drawn to read this post by its title, maybe you have lived long enough to have gone through more than a few unpleasant bathroom experiences!

To get straight to the point, my purpose here is to convince you that a fancy and expensive, Japanese-style, electronic toilet with lots of best and whistles is not only worth the investment, but is something you will thank me for forever!

Well, that sounds like a bit of a tough sell, doesn’t it?

So far I’ve written a few blogs on the benefits of electronic toilets, and on the best models available.

The next step for me is to focus on different populations, and here is the result of my research on the advantages of these toilets specifically for seniors.

A short history of toilets

It is possible that you have used the same toilet for decades, and that you feel very familiar with what a toilet looks like and should look like.

However, there is no doubt that toilets have evolved a great deal over the past several millenia, and are still evolving.

The first rudimentary toilets and public sanitation systems were invented as far back as 5000 years ago in northern India. They used flowing water to remove wastes.

Fast forward to 2000 years ago, the Chinese used pigsty, i.e. pigs were eating the human wastes, or fish ponds for the same, while the Romans were probably defecating in a standing position over open sewers that were periodically flushed, and were also carrying around chamber pots, a practice that was still in effect in some prisons until 2014 in England and 2017 in Ireland.

John Harington is credited with the invention of the flush toilet in 1596. But the development of the water closet in a recognizable form dates back about 250 years, especially with the invention by Alexander Cummings of the odor-controlling S-shape for the drain in 1775.

Progress in sanitation was slow: the American standard flush toilets, that we are so familiar with, coming into widespread use only by the mid-19th century.

Smart toilet at Beijing expo 2018
Smart toilet at Beijing expo 2018

From this perspective, the development in Japan of the sophisticated electronic toilets with user washing and drying and toilet self-cleaning features is very recent, dating back about 50 years.

90% of Japanese homes now have them.

Only about 1% of American homes have made the transition, but it is a quickly expanding market, growing 15% per year.

Toilet-related injuries

As people age, the risk of unfortunate injuries increases.

Injuries related to toilet use come in many kinds and are surprisingly common (40,000 per year in the USA by some estimate).

Here is a short overview:

People can get bruised or suffer a broken hip by sitting incorrectly on a toilet seat that is too small, or too low, or poorly-designed, or when the seat breaks under the weight.

One can suffer low blood pressure from using a toilet, with a risk of losing consciousness and collapsing, or just falling asleep on the bowl!

There is also a risk of heart attack and stroke: famously king Elvis Presley is said to have died on or near his throne.

Several design features of modern toilets can reduce these risks: a smart alarm system that detects some unusual behavior of the user like a fall, a standard alarm activated by the user, and guardrails that prevent injuries in case of falling.

Toilets can be prone to explosion due to the engineers’ desire to have a powerful flushing mechanism that needs to be counterbalanced by a sturdy-enough design for that pressure.

Indeed, a number of toilets have exploded in history, due to accidents and poor designs.

Modern engineers have carefully tested their designs to put stringent limits against such accidents happening again.

In summary, it’s very sensible to upgrade one’s toilets to minimize the risk of injuries.

An Elevated Toilet

For comfort and practical reasons, it often becomes more difficult with age to squat and sit down low, and especially to get back up afterwards, if not for yourself, then surely for some of your guests.

This is why a toilet design with a higher bowl is very helpful.

With this squarely in mind, the electronic toilet designers have made elevated toilets a standard (between 17 and up to about 19 inches high) in the luxury toilet market.

Thus this is a criterion in today’s marketplace that is easy to fulfill, making electronic toilets look like stately thrones.

However, one should keep in mind that these toilets can be too tall for shorter people and for children!

Sometimes there is a need to compromise on the optimal height based on the height between several regular users.

One simple solution is just to buy a seat add-on, for example: Carex elongated seat riser.

For people with serious hip injuries, there is the possibility of a mechanical lift to help you descend to and raise back up from the toilet (see EZ-Access model link below).

Handrails and Guardrails

Handrails can also be very helpful for getting up so that the user can combine the power of arms and legs.

The concern however is for the look to be hospital-like rather than home-like.

One strategy calls for removable handrails, another for designer handrails.

It is best also if the handrails height is adjustable.

Light weight is an important feature for removable handrails.

There are many designs.  Here is one example: Vaunn toilet rail.

Seat Cushioning

If seat heating is not sufficient, there is the possibility of ample cushioning, which can be removable.

Additional cushioning near the toilet can prevent injuries against falls.

What Specifically to Avoid?

It is useful to go through a checklist of common toilet problems before making a purchase: a noisy flush, a slamming lid, a sweaty tank and a toilet that is tough to clean.

These problems have typically been well-solved by the manufacturers.

Poor toilet placement or toilets that don’t comfortably fit the available space should also be mentioned.

Recommended High-End Models

A good hint that a toilet will be good for seniors is if it meets the ADA (American Disability Act) requirements.

The first question is to decide if you want to upgrade your existing toilet by changing the seat, or to replace the toilet entirely.

Please check out my two product reviews for either choice.

Among these choices, the best for seniors are, for full toilets: Toto Neorest 750H or Neorest AH, Kohler Numi or Karing, while EZ-Access provides a mechanical lift.

For seat replacement: Toto S550e.

Conclusion

Toilets have evolved a great deal, and there is probably some very good reasons specific to your situation that suggests you ought to replace or upgrade your toilets: perhaps for ease of cleaning and sanitation, or just for comfort and to avoid accidents.

14 thoughts on “Senior Health Articles: How to Improve 100% Your Bathroom Experience!

  1. Love the opening photo, I think she’s great!  I am sooo thankful I wasn’t around 2000 years ago lol.  I was not aware the S shape was something to control the odor, very interesting.  Exploding toilets does not sound like a good time to me in fact is sounds pretty messy.

    I do like the sounds of a self cleaning toilet though.  I used to work with the elderly and the advancements in toilets for them alone is really great.  This should be something every senior has access to.  

    1. Thanks for the comments Amanda! Yes indeed, the S-shape was a crucial invention for controlling foul smells. I am happy that you agree on the benefits of these toilets for seniors. Have a great day!

  2. I absolutely love what I read in this insightful article because it is full of great information. This is fascinating and interesting to me. You’ve done a great job for this review, changing or upgrading of toilets are essential for proper protection and minimize the risk to injury. Toilets are to remain clean always for our healthy purpose. Thanks for the insight, best regards 

  3. I agree with you that some people got injured in the toilet while sitting on the toilet bowl. This has once happen to my cousin when he visited his friend. This article has carefully stated the right thing to do when it comes to preventing injury iin the toilet. I agree that toilets should be upgraded for sanitation, cleaning and avoiding accidents.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Brent! I’m sorry to hear about your cousin’s injury, but this only shows how common these injuries are. Looking forward to see you back on my site if you consider upgrading your toilets to electronic bidet toilets!

  4. Hi Philippe, 

    Did you know that I have been thinking alot about self washing toilets. I am an inventor so I have been rolling it around in my head how to create a toilet that washes itself. 

    It’s no surprise that there are amazing electronic toilets, but I haven’t been exposed to them. I guess maybe it’s because much awareness has not been raised yet. Please do your possible best to promote this electronic toilet ideas, we need the word to get out and woo people into embracing it. 

    1. Interesting to hear that as an inventor, you’ve thought long and hard about building a self-cleaning toilet. Perhaps there is still a job for you in finding the next improvement! In the meanwhile, you are right that depending on where you live, access to an electronic toilet can be very difficult, even though they are very common in some parts of the world, especially Asia. In your case, your best option is to shop for them online. 

  5. This is a concise and informative blog post. You have thoroughly explained in details from different perspective for everyone digesting this post to understand the major points and tips shared in this article.I learnt alot from the history of toilet shared here. The different types of toilets seen here are eye opener for me. Thanks for sharing

    1. Thanks for the comments, Tracy. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed the short history of toilets that I have provided, because I was thinking on expanding the topic in a forthcoming article. Stay tuned!

  6. Wow, I really love this development in this area of this amazing electronic toilet. Yes, I can say necessity is the mother of invention, there is need to replace the old method and I really love this new Smart toilet at Beijing, is really amazing. I really also want to change my toilet but as I look through the lists provided in the article I saw the Carex Elongated Hinged Toilet which I really like, but as you mention about comfortability, I want to ask that will Carex Elongated Hinged Toilet be that good for heavily pregnant women?

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed this picture of a smart toilet in Beijing! Your question about the Carex product and pregnancy is excellent, and I had to do a bit of research. The answer depends on several factors. If the pregnant person is very heavy, like about 300 lbs, a special kind of seat will be required. Next, it depends on whether the person is healthy. If so, then normal squatting is good and encouraged. Otherwise, an adjustment like an elevated toilet would be appropriate. In summary, yes, the Carex Elongated Hinged seat would be good for a pregnant woman who is not in top shape, but who is also not so heavy as to reach about 300 lbs. I hope this helps.

  7. i found this article to very informative. I really didn’t know that the history of toilets went back so far or I guess I never really thought about it that deeply. But the smart toilet definitely peaked my interest. We are in the process of starting to build our own house and we have been looking into different bathroom set-ups because we didn’t want the standard toilet. I did notice that it looked like some of the pictures didn’t show( i think) because there were gaps towards that bottom of the article. Other than that i found the post well put together. Thank You

    1. Thanks Jennifer, yes, it would be an excellent idea for you to look into electronic smart toilets for your new bathroom. Some of them can be very affordable too. I will look into the gaps you mentioned, thanks for warning me about that problem.

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